What happens when you fuse Fortune 500 companies with Millennials? You get a one-of-a-kind, role-reversal event called SwitchPitch where established companies present funded innovation projects to a room full of enterprising techies and qualified startups! Founded in 2012 by serial entrepreneur, Michael Goldstein, and managed in partnership by his accelerator program, Exhilarator, SwitchPitch accomplishes what no other business event does by providing young entrepreneurs the opportunity to directly bid for six-figure contracts.
SwitchPitch Attracts Big Business
Since it’s inception, SwitchPitch has hosted events in Washington D.C., New York City and Miami, with presenting companies such as LivingSocial, Bacardi, Celebrity Cruises, IBM, PBS, HBO and The Washington Post among many others. In Los Angeles, SwitchPitch held it’s biggest event to date with presentations from distinguished corporations including Sony Entertainment, Warner Brothers, Boeing, Hewlett-Packard (HP) and Experian.
MiLLENNiAL had the distinct privilege of learning first hand what projects these companies were pitching and the specific talent they were seeking to hire. VP of Global Innovation for HP, Doug Warner, says his particular project focuses on disruptive activities in a range of areas. “Today, we’re going to be dealing with new interactive models for rich communication and voice over IP,” he tells MiLLENNiAL. His presenting partner and Senior Technologist for HP, Paul Martin, adds “we’re looking for small companies that can help with the development of our apps and software, [and who] can apply that experience and technology very quickly to prototype those solutions.”
SpeedMeetings Create More Networking Opportunities
While most of the presenting projects at SwitchPitch are extremely technical in nature, an added benefit to attending this event is being exposed to new people and projects that may have otherwise gone unnoticed. Head of Mobile and Connected Device Product Management at Experian Customer Services, Jeremy Wasser says SwitchPitch offers an opportunity to connect with potential startups who are not only capable of executing the job, but also delivering exquisite talent. Among the many startups eager to hear what these companies are offering is Matt Ellis, CEO and Founder of Measurabl, who drove two hours from San Diego to attend the event. “It’s extremely rare that you would get an opportunity to hear their [Fortune 500s] side of the story,” he says.
In another first, SwitchPitch LA introduced SpeedMeetings, a speed-networking opportunity for guests to interact with executives one-on-one to discover how they compliment each other. Even if startups and freelancers didn’t qualify for the corporate contract being offered, they were still able to exchange business cards with company decision makers and establish relationships for future projects.
Millennials Just Think Differently
Every generation has distinct characteristics that make them unique and in the case of Millennials, Warner explains that “they are more purpose driven…more collaborative…more social in all aspects of communication than previous generations, largely because they have been growing up with digital interfaces as part of their core life.”
Although traditional aspects are present, SwitchPitch is a clear representation of how Millennials operate in today’s business world. “People don’t necessarily strive to work for a big company anymore. I think they are more inclined to start something on their own, and then bid for big contracts,” Director of Operations for Workhouse Creative, Eli Martin, explains. Referring to the reason he made the long trek from Seattle to attend the one-day event, Martin says, “We’re looking for new clients. Our biggest client right now is Microsoft and we’re looking to diversify.”
While it is true that technology is responsible for getting most people to the SwitchPitch event, Yair Riemer, Chief Marketing Officer of Career Arc Group says, “sometimes we have to do things the old fashion way” by meeting face to face with someone of influence rather than emailing them. He puts a Millennial spin on it, “AND we’re supporting the local ecosystem!”
To learn more about how SwitchPitch provides business opportunities for Millennials or wish to attend an upcoming event, visit the SwitchPitch website.